Category: 2012 Season

The Ultimate Story

By Joelle Cheong (13A03A) and Natalie Lim (13A01C)

“Clear eyes, full hearts.” Coach Ben’s words stayed with the Frisbee team through the 2012 Inter-JC tournaments. Clear eyes – to discern the situation and act accordingly, and full hearts to leave the field with no regrets.

A year of hardcore trainings, free moments spent practicing throws in the amphitheatre and imagining plays in our heads culminated in the Inter-JC tournament, the pinnacle of every Raffles Ultimate member’s journey.

Things were not going as planned. Both teams, Team A comprising the J2 batch, and Team B the J1 batch, were fighting hard in the semi-finals, which we had expected to be a breeze. However, we had begun the game trailing SAJC. 0-1, 0-2, 1-2, 1-3, 2-3, 3-3, 4-3. Our teams were side-by-side on neighbouring fields, the players as well as the supporters who stood back-to-back, cheering for Raffles Ultimate. Just before time, both teams drew with their opponents. Both games now rested on the universal point, where the next team to score the next point would win.

The first shock of the day came when Team B fell to SAJC due to one unexpected catch by the opponent team. Tears were shed but hopes remained buoyant for Team A to continue on to the finals.

Throw. Foul. Disc goes back. Throw. Injury sub. Disc goes back. The same cycle repeated itself for more than 5 minutes as Team A battled right outside the ACS(I) endzone.

Turnover. Huck. Catch. Score.

The Raffles sidelines went silent.

And then the tears came. So many ’What if’s, so many ’’If only’s, so many ‘I should have’s. But it was too late. This deciding match had put the 2 RI teams into 3rd and 4th place, but we had a final match to determine our placings in the tournament.

When the horn sounded to commence game-play, both our teams were still extremely down in spirit. However, Team B decided that they would ensure Team A’s final tournament game be one they would not forget. The game began, and both teams fought hard. On the last point, we did something that no team has done before in the history of InterJC- everyone got on to the field. That final point was one that will remain vividly in the minds of Raffles Ultimate ‘12. Both teams linked arms and that was truly the defining moment of Raffles Ultimate- not the victory, but the fact that this family, our Raffles Ultimate family, was together.

Raffles has always enjoyed a reputation for winning, with 27 golds at the National Inter-school Championships this year as testimony. Raffles Ultimate is no exception. We have savoured the victories brought home by our seniors through the years. This year’s InterJC tournament was truly a humbling experience for all those who had turned up on the fields to support Raffles. It has redefined what it means to be a Raffles athlete – it’s not about the gold or the bragging rights, but the camaraderie shared after enduring trainings, punishments and even defeat with your team.

“Clear eyes, full hearts”. Coach Ben’s words resonate loud and strong in the hearts of every Raffles Ultimate player. We will clear our eyes of the tears of regret and disappointment from the outcome of this year’s competition and fill our hearts full with resolve to bring back the title.

For our seniors who didn’t get their fairytale ending. For the coach that did not give up on us despite our loss. For the team who is family to each and every one of us. Raffles Ultimate will work towards bringing back the gold –  with clear eyes, with full hearts. Count on it.

Inter-JC Ultimate Frisbee — Photo Essay

Photos by Edwin Chow and Claudia Koh (Raffles Photographic Society)

Raffles Ultimate Frisbee (commonly referred to as ‘Ultimate’), a relatively new CCA, participated in the 8th Inter-JC Ultimate Frisbee Tournament on 21 July. 2012 marks a slight dip for Ultimate, considering their numerous first-placings in previous years: the Year 5 team came in fourth place and the Year 6 team third. However, the Year 5 Captain, Shaun, said: “We gave our all and we’ll come back stronger next year.” For those who weren’t on the green last Saturday, we bring you photos of the event, courtesy of the Raffles Photographic Society.


(Update: Team members share their reflections in this post.)

 

Their Best Shot: Netball Finals 2012

By Cara Leong (13A01B)

The start of the match did not bode well for Raffles. It was five minutes in, and the score was 6-0 to ACJC, our biggest rival. Both schools had reached the finals unbeaten in the group stage and semi-finals, and boasted all-star players. Unable to find their footing early on in the game, ACJC’s lead in the first quarter sent the girls chasing their opponents until the very last minute and a score of 35-37.

The team struggled to get their flow in the first quarter, conceding turnovers in the center and attacking thirds to a fluid and agile ACJC. Although Goal Keeper (GK) Grace Seow made several key deflections and interceptions in the defensive third, the game was choking up in the attacking third, with Goal Attack (GA) Dawne Lim and Goal Shooter (GS) Lau Jing Han clashing in the attacking D (shooting zone). However, sharp shooting from Dawne, who put in 7 of her 8 shots, pulled the team back into the running. With a scoreline of 8:13 at the end of the first quarter, the girls had to put in three turnovers as well as their own goals in order to catch up with their opponents.

The second quarter saw much better passes, with the players appearing more confident after their strong showing the latter half of the first quarter. ACJC played a predictable game, lobbing passes to the wings which were easily anticipated by Wing Defence (WD) Kwee Yi Ning and Center (C) Amelia. GK Grace came out of her defensive D to make crucial interceptions, and the ball moved quickly in attack, but the shooters appeared hesitant, making unnecessary back-passes which were intercepted by ACJC’s quick-moving defenders. As a result, they did not manage to capitalize on better play in defense, closing the quarter with a score of 9-8, and a total score of 15-21.

In the second half, the girls brought the fight back on court, determined to catch up with their poor-passing opponents. With the substitution of Tan Ming Zhen as GS bringing new vigour into their game, the girls fought to lower the deficit to 2 goals at one point. While passes in the attacking third to the shooters continued to lack accuracy, Ming Zhen’s added height proved useful in receiving lobs against her one-time teammate, ACJC GK Ainsley Chew. At the end of the third quarter, the score was 26-30, setting up for a nerve-wracking fourth quarter.

A quick break in the fourth quarter and a pep talk from coach Ms Chng Li Li gave the girls a boost in the fourth quarter, and the effect was palpable. The quarter opened with two fast goals in the first 30 seconds, pulling the score up to 28-30. As the crowds began to roar with excitement, the score rose to 30-31, and with both teams putting in their goals, 32-33. With 6 minutes left in game, the score was 32-35, and the girls’ agitation was evident. They fought every pass in ACJC’s attack, viciously deflecting passes and sticking tightly to their players, but despite their best efforts, as the final whistle blew the scoreboard read 35-37.

While this game might have been a disappointment for the players, the talent in this team is evident. The girls showed their tenacity in fighting to the very end, and for that they are certainly winners in our books. As captain Ann Koh said, “the girls definitely gave their best shot in the game. Although we didn’t start as well as we wanted and allowed AC to lead by quite a gap in the first quarter, we never gave up, kept pushing on, fought for every ball the best we could and eventually closed the gap to 2 points at the final whistle. It was a great fight and a job well done!”

RI Cricket beats worthy opponents ACS(I) by 6 wickets

By Jonathan Lee (13A01A)

On an overcast day, RI won a low-scoring match against perennial rivals ACS(I) to emerge as A-Division champions once again, successfully defending their title. Having bowled well to restrict ACS to 70 all out, RI started well in the run-chase, before wobbling a bit but eventually clinching a 6 wicket win in the 14th over. Varun Honnavalli and Rohan George bowled well for RI, taking 3 wickets apiece and conceding only 16 runs off their 4 overs.

Due to the rain earlier in the day, the outfield was slow and both teams found scoring difficult. RI won the toss, and captain for the day Abhiraj Singh put ACS(I) in to bat first. Starting with the medium pace of Sanat Deshpande (3-0-16-1) and Honnavalli, the team got off to a good start when both claimed wickets in their first overs, leaving ACS(I) struggling at the end of the second over. Wickets then continued to fall at regular intervals, as the spinners Abhiraj Singh (4-0-10-1) and Navin Param (4-0-10-2), stars of the Singapore team in the ACC U-16 Elite Cup 2010, strangled the run flow. Rohan George then finished off the game in style by claiming 3 wickets in his last two overs, bowling 2 batsmen and inducing one to edge to short leg. The team also fielded well to stop quite a few boundaries, although there were certain lapses in concentration when the fielders missed clear run-out opportunities. The team spirit, however, was evident through the way the team celebrated their wickets and how they congratulated individual fielders for good stops. ACS(I) were eventually bowled out in the 19th over for 70 runs.

Given that RI had actually beaten ACS(I) in the preliminaries by 81 runs (189 to 108), one might be forgiven for thinking that this was going to be over quickly. However, the outfield again made shot-making a difficult exercise. Coupled with the great grit and heart shown by the ACS(I) bowlers, who bowled a nagging line and length, the chase was not that straightforward.

RI began cautiously, with the opening pair of outgoing captain Dhivesh Dadlani (22, 2×4) and Nishanth Thiagarajan (11) playing out 3 overs for 9 runs, with Dhivesh playing out a maiden over in the 3rd. The 4th over brought the first boundary of the innings, with Dhivesh playing a good on-drive to score 4 runs. He then smashed another boundary to deep midwicket before getting bowled at the end of the 6th over for a run-a-ball 22, having looked in good touch.

Navin was the next batsman, facing his old teammates from ACS(I). Having bowled well earlier, he sought to propel his team to victory but was dismissed for a 3-ball duck, the ball hitting the splice of the bat and lobbing up for an easy catch. Sreekar Reddy (1) came in at 4 but was adjudged leg-before-wicket, leaving RI 39/3 but still with a good chance of winning. Abhiraj (14*) came in and immediately looked to finish the run chase off quickly, cutting hard but for few runs. Nishanth, who had played the anchor role through the innings, was then controversially run-out in the next over for a 23-ball 11. Having run one, a misfield allowed the batsmen to judge a second run possible, and Nishanth looked to have made his ground just as the bails were taken off but was harshly judged to have been run out.

Coming in at number 6 was Sidharth Sikka (19*, 1×4 2×6), who again looked to finish it off quickly, smashing past long-on for another boundary. Playing out yet another maiden over (the 12th over of the innings), Sidharth then proceeded to take the attack to the ACS(I) bowlers, first mowing a 6 over midwicket, then crashing another into the sightscreen. This was effectively the end of the match for ACS(I), as those two shots meant that RI had only 5 runs to get off the next 7 overs. The batsmen duly obliged, finishing off the match in the next over and sparking wild celebrations from the team.

“The win was really incredible, thank you so much for coming down to support us!” said captain Abhiraj after the match. Coach Goh Swee Heng said that the team bowled well, but the batting did not perform up to expectations, despite having promoted as many Year 6s up the batting order as he could as it was their last match for the team. Despite this, he felt that this year’s team was very different from those of previous seasons, citing the high unity and bonding in the team that made it feel like a family. “This resulted in more effort this season as compared to the past,” said Mr Goh. “The family atmosphere meant that they understood the importance of the team and they played very well together as a team, which is a rare occurrence but a good sign. This allowed them to succeed throughout the season.”

Perhaps the overall feeling in the team was summed up by team member Chiraag Thadani’s tweet after the match: “Most retarded, dysfunctional, amazingly, awesome cricket team and second family I’ve had the pleasure of being in. LOVE THEM TTM!” (sic)

Indeed, it was a great team performance from RI and a well-deserved win, capping another great season for our cricketers. Bravo!

Badminton Boys Win Champions

By Jonathan Kit (13S03D)

One would think that after a morale bruising second round 3-2 loss to the very same opponents they would face in the finals, the RI Boys’ A-Division Badminton Team would undergo an intense struggle in defeating the defending champions of the National Inter-school A-Division Badminton Tournament, ACS (I), in the 2012 final. A whole year of training takes place after every season to prepare for the next. Within these long, arduous months, it was the insatiable hunger for the reclamation of the title that kept the RI boys’ team grinding through an entire postseason of grueling trainings. Yet, the ACS(I) team seemed poised as ever to claim their title once again.

This time, however, ACS’s school motto held true- the best was, indeed, yet to be.

The unfazed RI team stepped onto the courts on the 16th of May at Toa Payoh Sports Hall, ready to finish off what they had started. The 1st singles match began with a face-off between two familiar rivals: Ho Huin Kit on the RI side, and Peck Ern-Min from ACS(I). Huin Kit did not let the nerve-wrecking Finals atmosphere get to him, and managed to pull away with a 21-18 victory in the first set of his match. He ended off the first half of the second set with an 11-3 lead, looking to give RI a great start to the series with a convincing victory, but was surprised by his opponent who came fighting back from 8 points down to achieve a 16-14 lead. Still, Huin Kit fell back on his years of experience and refused to let anything derail him from his focus and managed to fight back point for point to attain a 22-20 second set victory, making it 1-0 to RI.

The first doubles pair representing RI consisted of Chung Tze Herng and Irsyad Khan, who played against Joshua Chan and Khaw Jing Huan from ACS. From the very beginning of the first set, the ACS (I) players attacked with admirable vengeance, looking to make up for their teammate’s loss earlier on.This caught our first doubles pair off guard, landing ACS a 21-9 first set victory. However after a quick pep talk by head coach Mr Hamid Khan, the Rafflesian duo entered the second set with renewed composure and resilience, causing the ACS pair to work much harder than before in order to grind out a much better contested second set victory over our boys at a scoreline of 21-15.

The most anticipated match of the finals was the 2nd singles matchup- a clash of the titans between the two best singles players from both teams: Ong Cheng Yuen from the RI side and Alton Chew from ACS(I). The first set of the game did not disappoint with long, hard fought rallies and powerful smashes exchanged, with Cheng Yuen ultimately clinching a 21-18 first set victory. Not to be dismissed easily, Alton came back roaring in the second set to challenge Cheng Yuen’s lead, managing to steal a close second set victory 21-19. In the rubber set, Cheng Yuen used his flawless footwork and deft touches while managing a professional composure to emerge victorious over Alton with a convincing 21-13 triumph.

Looking to close out RI’s 2-1 series lead with a 2nd doubles victory, the Rafflesian duo, Julian Chee and Yu Kern Hong stepped up to battle ACS(I)’s Takahiro Tan and Chay Sai Kin. This was Julian’s first match of the season after recovering from a right hand fracture before season had started, and he proved to the coach that it was indeed the right decision to play Julian in the finals. Julian played impressively, using his impeccable front-court technique to set up plays for Kern Hong to use his powerful smashes and attack in the backcourt, and needless to say the pair was equally spectacular with their defence, emerging with a 21-16 victory. The second set went in the favor of the resilient ACS duo, however, and they managed to push the game to a rubber set with a second set 21-15 victory over our boys. The motivation to close the series out was evident in our Rafflesian duo and they managed to regain their aggressive form in the first set. This helped RI put away ACS(I)’s hopes of defending the title with the game winning shot being an emphatic right-handed tap from Kern Hong, sealing the deal with a 21-13 victory.

At that very moment, the rest of the Boys’ Team came sprinting out from the stands to embrace the 2nd doubles duo and the RI crowd erupted in a thunderous cheer of elation for the new champion team. Needless to say it was a sweet, sweet victory for the RI team, because for many of the team members it was their first national title ever and especially because they had triumphed over the team that had taken the title from them for consecutive years before the 2012 victory. Congratulations, boys!